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Kentucky wildcat basketball

SAD NEWS: New contract of 4years to Mark Pope Just terminated inside info…

Mark Pope won a critical recruiting battle on Sunday, though this five star-rated performer will never make a field goal, never rebound an errant shot.What Kentucky’s new coach did was thoroughly impress Travis Perry‘s mom, Jami, when the family had a sit-down meeting with Pope on Sunday in Lexington.

“It was the first time Jami got to meet coach Pope,” said Ryan Perry, Travis’ father and coach at state champion Lyon County. “She was impressed. She thought he was genuine and very energetic and positive about Travis and that’s the most important thing to us. She really liked the first impression. We all did.

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When Mark Pope was initially hired as Kentucky’s new head coach, the primary concern was whether or not he’d be able to attract top shelf talent, especially after following perhaps the best recruiter in the history of college basketball in John Calipari.To get high-level recruits, you need high-level recruiters and in his first two weeks on the job, Pope has now put together a staff that can rival any in the country.

It was reported by Matt Norlander of CBS Sports that top Baylor assistant Alvin Brooks III is set to join Pope’s staff after serving as head coach Scott Drew‘s right-hand man for the past eight seasons, helping guide the Bears to the national championship in 2021. Brooks also served as the primary recruiter on four of the top 10 highest-rated Baylor commits in program history in VJ Edgecombe (2024), Keyonte George (2021), Ja’Kobe Walter (2022), and Langston Love (2020) in the past five years.

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Colby Backus has been patient, he puts in his work every single day and he’s been ready for his opportunities when they’ve come this season.Tony Vitello rewarded the redshirt-junior outfielder with his first career start on Tuesday night in No. 3 Tennessee baseball’s 12-4 win over Western Carolina. Backus made the most of his latest opportunity.

Backus hit his fourth home run of the season to lead off the bottom of the fifth inning. The solo shot came at a pivotal time, as Tennessee was trailing the Catamounts by one at the time. Backus’ missile into the porches in left field tied the game and sparked a six-run inning for the Vols in which they took a commanding 9-4 lead.

“He’s earned more than he’s gotten or probably ever will get if you’re basing it on being a teammate, work ethic, overcoming adversity, but really starting today was a reward for his effort,” Vitello said following the game. “He certainly took advantage of it. But, he’s going to take advantage of any opportunity he gets, and like I said, he’s earned as many as you can imagine.”

Tennessee’s six runs in the bottom of the fifth came on five hits. Cannon Peebles doubled, Christian Moore singled and Blake Burke walked to load the bases for Billy Amick, who hit a two-run single following a pitching change to give the Vols a 6-4 lead.

Kavares Tears followed up Amick’s knock with a three-run homer the opposite way to the deepest part of Lindsey Nelson Stadium. Tears’ 14th home run of the season gave the Vols a five-run lead that they would not look back on.

“We just had a really good gameplan going into it, just to stay on go and attack pitches we can hit,” Amick said. “We did a good job.”

Here are our takeaways from Tennessee’s (34-7) win over Western Carolina (21-17) to improve to 11-0 in midweek games this season, and to 65-6 since the start of the 2019 campaign

Tennessee’s third baseman had a trio of knocks that produced at least two runs in the win. In addition to Amick’s two-run double in the fifth, he also extended the UT lead to 3-0 in the third when he hit a two-run homer.

Amick’s homer came with two outs after first baseman Burke extend his program-record hitting streak to 31 games with a single. It was Amick’s 13th long ball of the season.

He hit his second of the game and the 14th of his first campaign with the Vols in the bottom of the eighth inning. His three-run homer came after Charlie Taylor and Moore worked back-to-back walks to lead off the inning, and gave Tennessee a 12-4 lead.

Amick finish the night 3-for-5 with three runs scored and seven RBIs. It followed a tough weekend at Kentucky in which he went 2-for-13 (.154) at the plate with four strikeouts over the course of the three games.

“I wouldn’t say there was anything different,” Amick said. “Kentucky is a good team and we went and did what we wanted to do. I’m just glad we won the series.”

Sophomore lefty Andrew Behnke also got back on track after hitting two of the three batters he faced in Tennessee’s 13-11 win over Kentucky on Sunday to clinch the series.

After Tennessee freshmen pitchers Dylan Loy and Brady Robertson allowed a single, back-to-back walks and a hit by pitch to load the bases and allow Western Carolina to score its first run, Vitello turned to Behnke. Although WCU scored four runs in the inning to take its only lead, Behnke got back-to-back ground balls and a strikeout despite a Dean Curley error to get out of the inning.

Behnke prevented further damage in the top of the fourth and proceeded to work a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the fifth courtesy of a pair of strikeouts to set up Tennessee’s big six-run frame.

“Behnke, we used him and Billy (Amick) as examples out there,” Vitello said. “Those guys are unbelievable teammates and are going to be as happy as it gets, and Billy had a huge hit there in the mix (in the Kentucky series), but if you asked them if they both wanted to do better as individuals, and there’s other guys like that, too, they’d say, ‘Yeah.’ So, don’t talk about it, be about it. They certainly were.”

In total, Behnke allowed one hit in 2.0 scoreless innings of work. He struck out three and didn’t give up a walk on 38 pitches, 20 of which were strikes.


ered with a runner on first in the sixth after Behnke allowed his only hit to begin the inning. Phillips proceeded to retire the next three batters he faced to work around the lead-off single and pick up here he left off in Kentucky.

Phillips made his SEC debut on Sunday and retired the final batter of the game — the only one he faced — to pick up his second save of the season. He continued to impress against Western Carolina with two scoreless innings of work.

“I’ve just been going out there and having fun,” Phillips said. “That’s really all it is. Coach V says that, Coach A (Frank Anderson) says that. But I’ve just been trying not to think too much. Just go out there and play ball like I always have.”

After getting the Vols out of the inning in the sixth, Phillips worked around a lead-off walk by retiring the next three batters he faced to throw up another zero on the scoreboard. 14 of the 23 pitches he threw on the night were strikes.

“The fact that Marcus was able to accumulate some reps, and now, in the big scheme of things, he’s accumulated some reps, he’s been out there with some consistency as of late, that’s really what he needs,” Vitello said. “The stuff is there and the mentality is there when he selects it to be or chooses it to be. But the amount of reps was key.”Tennessee’s freshman lefty made his third start of the season and delivered three strong fames of work right out of the gates with three consecutive 1-2-3 innings. Loy did so courtesy of two strikeouts, five fly balls and two ground outs.

The southpaw ran into some trouble in the fourth before being pulled from the game when he allowed a single and back-to-back walks.

“He did well,” Vitello said. “There is a lot to be happy with and then also some things to learn from there, which is what he’s trying to do overall. I hope he feels good the next couple of days so we can write him down and he’s available this weekend. If not, he’ll be getting the ball again real, real soon.”

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